Today’s Featured Author: Susabelle Kelmer

Today I welcome author Susabelle Kelmer to my blog. Her book, Fairest of the Faire, came out in June.


Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born and lived my first 50 years in the St. Louis metro area.  I lived in suburbs, the city itself, and then far out in an adjoining rural county.  I moved to Colorado for work during the recession, and settled in Longmont, Colorado.  Longmont is the big city that is really a small town, about 20 miles northeast of Boulder.  The Rocky Mountains are practically in my back yard.  I love it here and will never move back to Missouri!  I am the product of a country father, and a city mother, so living in a semi-rural area suits me just fine.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing about being a writer is being able to tell stories.  I am a born storyteller,  so this fits me well.  The worst part of writing is all that editing.  I marvel at writers pre-typewriter.  They wrote long-hand and didn’t edit the way we do today.  We are spoiled by word processors, I know.  But having to be perfect with each word would be paralyzing, too.  So I have a lot of respect for those writers of the classics.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I am a pantser, for sure.  The few times I tried to outline, it was a disaster.  The writing of the outline meant I’d written the story, and no longer had the energy or willingness to write the actual story.  So I do better as a pantser.  I usually start with an idea, a character, a scene, and build around it.  I refer to myself as a “spiral” writer.  That little scene or character becomes a seed that I build around to get the whole story.  I enjoy the process, for the most part.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love Renaissance fairs.  There is drama, incredible costumes, yummy foods, lots of play-acting.  I have friends who’ve worked fairs, and my brother is a blacksmith who works the Greater St. Louis RenFaire with some of his buddies.  I had good resources for doing the research. At that renfair I encountered a very handsome young man dressed in a very interesting costume.  My friend and I twittered and giggled at him from a distance, and I took a few pictures (he was posing for everyone).  I knew he had a story, so I wrote it, and it fell together pretty easily.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

All of my stories turn out the way I expect. (grin)  It is all that stuff in the middle that is a surprise.  When I think about a story I want to write, I usually have a beginning (the Great Meeting), and an end (Happily Ever After), but getting to that end is where the work is.  So the middles sometimes are very different than what I might have thought they would be.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I am very blessed to have dedicated writing space in my home.  We rent a large house, and there is a complete guest suite on the garden level – kitchenette, full bath, bedroom, and sitting room.  A corner of the sitting room is my “office.”  I have a large trestle table that is my desk (I move my feet a lot so a traditional desk is not comfortable for me), two book cases, and a small file cabinet.  I spent a lot of time down there – either writing or hanging out on the Internet.  When we have guests, I am evicted, of course, and have to make do in a corner of the bedroom or at the end of the dining room table with my laptop.  I love the space, though.  It’s quiet and away from the household noise, and I can play my favorite music and talk to our black cat, Gracie.

What book are you reading right now?

I buy a lot of used books at thrift stores, so I have an odd assortment of things on my “to be read” pile.  Right now I’m reading an older hard-back book called “Prairie Songs.”  Can’t remember the author off the top of my head, but the story is written from the perspective of a young girl living on the prairie in a “soddy” house with her brother and her parents.  So far, I’m enjoying it.  Before that, I read “Waltzing the Cat” by Pam Houston.  Interesting book, and I loved the main character and her independence.  It was definitely different than anything I’d read before.  As a writer, I know I need to read, and read more, but time is limited for me with a full-tme job and the usual wife/mom things to do, so I don’t get as much reading time as I like.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I was an athlete in high school.  Until my lungs went bad at 17, I regularly placed at swim meets.  I also played basketball, soccer, and softball.  I was also in the marching band (I played piccolo) and we were second in the state every year I was in high school.  Most people look at me and can’t believe I was ever an athlete.

Book Blurb

perf5.000x8.000.inddSchoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

About the Author

susabellesmallSusabelle Kelmer is a wife and mother living at the base of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. She believes in romance, second chances, and the magic of moonlight. When she isn’t writing, she works with students with disabilities in the college environment.

You can find out more about Susabelle on her website or her blog. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Fairest of the Faire on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and through Wild Rose Press.


Publishing your novel recap – Number 3

I was on vacation last week. That is my excuse for doing another recap post.

This is obviously my third recap of publishing your novel posts. You can read the first one from June 2013 here or the last one from September 2014 here. I like to think they contain some good information.

So you want to self-publish your novel? There is a lot to learn and it is an ever-changing world. Here are my posts on publishing posted in the past year. Listed are the title of the post and the first few lines and then a link if you want to read the post.

Formatting your self-published novel – DIY or hire someone? – You have written your novel and now are ready to publish it as an e-book. But your file needs to be submitted in the proper format as required by the publisher. So do you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you?(To read more, click here.)

CIMG0524Revisiting the all-important book blurb – The book blurb is one of the most important promotional tools you will write for your novel. This short piece of prose can entice someone to buy your novel – or pass it up. Because it is so important, you should spend a lot of time perfecting your novel’s blurb. (To continue reading, click here.)

Choosing the front matter for your self-published book – You have worked hard on your novel and are now ready to publish it. But the first thing readers will see when they begin reading your e-book won’t be your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter and introduces your book to the reader. (To read more, click here.)

Deciding on back matter for your e-book – Last week, I covered front matter (all the pages BEFORE your story) in your book. Today, I want to talk about back or matter – which as you guessed is all the pages AFTER your story. (To continue reading, click here.)

preorder amazonPre-Orders: Are they worth it? – When I published my first three novels, setting up a pre-order was not available to self-published authors. Since then, both Amazon and Smashwords have begun offering pre-orders. (To read more, click here.)

Do you need to copyright your self-published novel? – This is often a question that new self-published authors ask. And the quick answer is no. As soon the words leave your mind and you put them on paper (or type them into your computer file), it is already protected under U.S. copyright law. (To read more, click here.)

Preparing for an e-book release – So you have written an awesome story, edited it until it shines and formatted it for publication as an e-book. The cover has been designed and the engaging book blurb has been written. You are ready to release your book to the world. So what do you do now? How do you let everyone know about your masterpiece? (To find out, click here.)

If you are self-published, you might be considering using Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select program. To find out my most recent stint with KDP Select, check out these two posts. The first one goes over the program and author concerns with using it. The second is my results from using it from January to April of this year.

Considering KDP Select again

KDP Select free book promo results

If you have any ideas for further posts about self-publishing a novel, please feel free to suggest them.


Meet the Teacher Night

Every year, on the Thursday before the new school year begins, the kids get to meet their new teachers. I have no clue if this is how it is done at other elementary (primary) schools in other cities, states or countries. I don’t even recall if I met my teachers before the first day of school when I was in elementary school.

But here in San Antonio, we have Meet the Teacher night. This is a two-hour drop in time where you can bring your school supplies to the classroom and well…meet your new teacher.

And it is this Thursday!

Wow! The summer has flown by! (Actually today, we should get a call from each kids’ teacher letting us know who their teacher is. We will be staying close to the phone, anxiously waiting to find out who they have this year.)

IMG_2752I remember always being a little nervous and excited on the first day of school. Some of those nerves are relieved by Meet the Teacher night. Now the kids know where their classroom is and often where they are going to be sitting. They have met their teacher and had a chance to find out who else is in their class.

Often the teachers have forms for the parents to fill out while the kids put away their supplies or follow some sort of instructions to orient them to the room and rules.

But in addition to meeting their teacher, this is the time to buy agenda books for the older grades, sign up for the PTA, buy spirit shirts and put money into the kids’ cafeteria accounts.

Two of those activities – PTA memberships and Spirit Shirts – are the responsibility of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) for which I am the treasurer. So as you can imagine, this is a busy time for us. It is actually the day we sell the most merchandise and sign up the majority of our members.

This means I have to split my duties between taking the kids to see their teacher and my PTA duties. As treasurer, most of my time actually comes at the end of the night when we count up all the money. But there is always setting up before the evening starts too.

There is a lot of work involved, but right now I don’t care about that. I am just waiting for the phone to ring. We want to know which teachers they will have next Monday. Wow! Can’t believe their first day is just a week away.

Today’s Featured Author – MF Moskwik

Please welcome author MF Moskwik to my blog. MF’s debut novel, Heart Break, was released in June and is the first in the Isabel Swift series.


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer and scientist. I love dogs! I’ve got two of them-an eleven year old cockapoo and a nine year old beagle. My favorite word, now, is probably proboscis, which refers to a long nose, but that changes daily. I was born in New Jersey but raised in Texas, near the Gulf Coast, which means that when I miss home, I miss the beach, I miss hot, torrential summer rain storms, and I miss the melting pot of delicious Cajun, Latin, Asian, Caribbean, and Barbecue foods that make up the cultural dinner table of that region. Mmm! Good times!

Do you have an all time favorite book? 

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. It’s about a princess who discovers her own power to become a slayer of dragons who is then tasked with saving her kingdom from the sorcerer who murdered her mother.  Her best friend is a beloved, aged, injured horse, Talat, that she rehabilitates and uses as her dragon-slaying steed. AND she’s in a love triangle with a prince who is her childhood best friend and a magician who teachers her to use her powers.  Seriously, that book fires on all cylinders, and probably the reason I love books.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Robin McKinley (see above). Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.  If I could go back in time, then I would also meet Kurt Vonnegut and Maurice Sendak. Why? Because I love their books-and I’d just want to thank them.

Please tell us about your current release.

Heart Break is a mystery-technothriller about a police officer, Isabel Swift, assigned to solve a burglary case involving equipment from a local university with a new partner, Mark Jameson. Learning to work with a new person is always an adjustment, but Isabel and Mark have different approaches to the work, and, as we learn, both are dealing with recent loss of a work partner or life partner. It’s a potent mix of opposite personalities and raw emotions, but, for me, as a writer, watching them discover how to work together and lean on one another to get through the case and through their grief was a joy.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

That’s a good question! I wish I had certain traits of the characters. I wish I had Izzy’s swagger! She’s a good cop-she’s young and still needs to gain the experience she needs to become a detective, but she’s got a mouth and a lot of confidence-and I wish I had that same effortless faith in myself that she does.

This book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The next book in the series is called Devil’s Breath! For the biologists or biology curious, it’s got a neuroscience centered plot, a secret affair, and betrayal. I’m aiming for a December/January release, and the first pages of it will be released soon on my blog and on the Heart Break website, so definitely check back soon!

Book Blurb

Heart BreakIsabel Swift is a savvy, down-to-earth, female police officer who protects the citizens of Westchester County and wants to become a detective. From a broken home, her brothers and sisters in blue are her family, and she is shaken by the recent, unexpected death of her mentor, Ben Carter, from what everyone thinks was a heart attack. On her first day back from leave, she is paired with an arrogant forensic data scientist, Mark Jameson, who is more interested in analyzing data than solving the crime of stolen technology to which they are assigned.

When their investigation uncovers an unexpected link between the theft and her mentor’s death, Swift and Jameson have only 48 hours to whittle down a countywide list of suspects, track down the stolen technology, and solve the mystery of Ben Carter’s death. Can Isabel overcome her grief and her differences with her new partner to solve the case and earn her detective’s badge?

About the Author

MF Moskwik is a writer, scientist, and cynophilist, living with two mischievous dogs in the Inland Northwest.

You can find out more about MK on her blog.

You can purchase Heart Break on Amazon.